|Celandine's Chronicle (celandineb) wrote in cels_fic_haven,|
@ 2007-09-04 17:41:00
|Entry tags:||hp fic draco/harry, hp fic settlement|
HP fic: Visitor [Harry/Draco, general]
Warnings: Deathly Hallows spoilers.
Summary: After telling Ginny he's leaving her, Harry comes to stay with Draco until he can move out.
Note: Fifth in the Settlement series: Settlement, Choices, Friends, Resolve
Now that he lived alone, Draco found himself at loose ends on weekends. His job at the Ministry didn't require him to bring work home; one of the Malfoy house-elves did his cleaning and some of his cooking as well, so unless Draco had plans with a friend, he generally spent his days off puttering around his flat, reading the papers that had piled up over the week, or knocking around either wizarding or Muggle London. Once in awhile he visited Scorpius and Rosie, but he didn't like to do that too often. Not that he didn't want to see his son, but he didn't want Scorpius to feel that he was intruding, so he preferred to go only every six weeks or so.
Occasionally, too, he would have lunch with his wife, although after more than two years of separation, Daphne had other engagements most of the time. The arrangement suited them both. Divorce was out of the question for a Malfoy and Draco did not want to have the arguments with his parents that he knew would follow if he made a step in that direction. It wasn't as if he wanted to marry someone else, after all, so best to leave well enough alone.
Today he had spent largely in browsing through Muggle antique shops. Since he and Harry had become friends, Draco had become more comfortable in the Muggle world, perhaps because Harry seemed to take it for granted. He had considered buying a nineteenth-century grandfather clock, but upon reflection decided that its design wouldn't suit his living room.
Having eaten a light supper, he was seated on the sofa, idly flipping through Which Broomstick and wondering if he should get Scorpius a new broom for his birthday. Most of his thoughts, however, were not on brooms at all, but on Harry, who had said that he was going to talk with Ginny about a separation this weekend. He hoped that it would go all right. Offering Harry the use of his spare bedroom if necessary was really the only thing Draco could do to help him.
The old mantel clock above the fireplace chimed the hours: eight o'clock, nine o'clock, ten o'clock. Once upon a time that would have been early for Draco, especially on a Saturday, but at ten-thirty he yawned, put down his magazine, and rose to carry his wineglass to the kitchen. He was just setting it on the counter when a thump in the Floo nearly made him drop the glass.
"Draco?" Harry's voice called out.
Hurrying back into the living room, Draco saw Harry stepping out of the fireplace, brushing himself off. "Are you all right?"
Harry's face was pale and he blinked furiously. "Not really. I'm going to take you up on that offer of your spare bedroom, if I may?"
"Of course." Draco noted that Harry had nothing with him. "I can lend you some pajamas and a comb and toothbrush, too, if you need them."
"Thanks. I'll go home tomorrow, I just felt that it would be better not to be there tonight." Harry sighed.
"Let me show you where the spare room is, and then if you want to talk about it, we can." Draco realized that in all the time they had been friends, Harry had never visited his flat before. For that matter, he hadn't been in Harry's house, either. "I'll give you the five-Knut tour, shall I?"
Harry managed a rather shaky smile and nodded, following Draco.
"We're in the living room, obviously. Through here is the kitchen; glasses are in the cupboard left of the sink, and feel free to help yourself to anything in the fridge that you'd like." Draco waved his hand in that direction.
"Down this hallway are the bedrooms. This one is mine." Draco liked what he'd chosen for his room; all the wood was a dark rich cherry, and the rest was mostly white with touches of dark green that reminded him of his Slytherin schooldays. "The guest bath is next door, here," the bath was done up entirely in white, "and at the end of the hall is the room you'll have."
Its door stood open; Draco had had his house-elf give it an extra cleaning and put fresh sheets on the bed, just in case Harry needed it. "It's not much," he apologized, "but I don't have guests all that often. Usually I go to visit Scorpius and Rose, rather than the other way around."
"It's lovely. This will be fine." Harry had taken only a couple of steps into the room; with nothing to set down to establish his presence as a guest, he seemed detached from his surroundings, uncertain what to do
"Why don't I fetch those pajamas and so on now, so that I don't forget later. Just a minute." Draco looked in the medicine cabinet of the guest bathroom, and as he had thought, there was an unused toothbrush there still in its wrapper. He laid the toothbrush and a comb on the shelf above the sink and went into his own room. All of his pajamas would be a little large on Harry -- Draco had at least four inches on him in height, though not breadth -- but they would do for tonight. He pulled out a pair in blue silk and hurried back. "Here you go," he said briskly.
"Thanks," said Harry, taking the pajamas and moving at last to set them down on the pillow.
"Would you like a drink?" Draco offered, observing the dazed way Harry walked. Perhaps it was only to be expected, but it concerned him. One drink would do no harm and might break through that numbness.
Harry nodded and they went back to the living room.
A good red wine, Draco decided. He knew that Harry preferred reds unless he was eating a dish that would be overwhelmed by one. He poured them each a glass, and settled beside Harry on the small sofa.
"Do you want to tell me about it?" he said quietly.
Harry stared into his glass of wine. Twice he raised it to his lips, then lowered it again without drinking. Draco waited. When he and Daphne had agreed to separate, it hadn't been a particularly emotional decision; they had half-agreed to it even before they were married, after all. But Harry's situation was different. He should be allowed to talk about it in his own time.
"I didn't tell her about you," Harry said at last. "About being unable to settle the life debts we owe each other because... you know. Because we feel too much toward each other and haven't been able to resolve those emotions through ordinary friendship. She'll find out eventually of course, but it seemed better not to complicate things right now."
"All right," said Draco. "Do you want to tell me how the rest of the conversation went, then?"
"She wasn't happy." Harry gave a choked laugh. "The funny thing is that I think she does actually feel the same as I do; that we don't really communicate about important matters, things that are more than how the children are doing, or what we need to do to the house this weekend. But she doesn't seem to expect that, and it doesn't seem to bother her. I don't know if she doesn't need to have that kind of sharing, or if she talks with her women friends and doesn't think it's a problem that she's not talking with me."
He fell silent then, taking a long gulp from his wineglass and then staring at it again as he held it between his knees. From the opposite end of the sofa Draco studied Harry's face. The creases around his eyes and mouth, which usually gave the impression that he smiled often and would do so again at any moment, seemed tonight to be dragging the skin down in weary folds. He looked defeated, a look that Draco couldn't remember ever seeing on him before. And yet he couldn't be; if he'd tried to tell Ginny that it was over and she had somehow argued him out of his decision, he wouldn't be here sitting on Draco's sofa. Draco was sure that touching Harry now would be a bad idea, so he simply said, "Go on."
With a sigh, Harry did. "I had to explain that over the last few years my life had started to feel pointless, empty, as if I were simply going through the motions most of the time. She took it personally. Which maybe shouldn't have been a surprise, but it was. No matter how often I said that I didn't blame her at all, that this was simply the way things were for me, she wanted to insist that she must have done something, or failed to do something, to make me feel that way, and that I should have told her years before if I was unhappy. But I wasn't unhappy, that's the trouble. I was mostly content. And I could have gone on like that forever..."
"I know," murmured Draco.
"She asked if there was another woman. When I said no, she seemed relieved. I don't think it occured to her that I might have feelings about another man instead." Harry gave a snort. "Despite her brother Charlie."
"I suppose she felt that thirty years with her established your straight credentials pretty well," said Draco.
"Something like that," Harry agreed. "I will say this for her, she never did start yelling, and I thought she might. But she cried." He shook his head, looking down. "That very nearly made me reconsider... I absolutely hated that I was hurting her so much. And I wanted to comfort her, but the only comfort I could have given would have only made it worse. I finally asked if I should call Hermione, if she wanted someone else to be there with her, and she said no, all she wanted was to be alone for a while and think, and that if I would leave she'd appreciate it."
"You left her all alone?"
"No, I Floo-called Hermione anyway, so that someone else would be looking in on her tonight and maybe tomorrow morning too. Ginny's not the type to do something stupid and impulsive, but you never know."
Draco was glad to hear that. He'd never had any particular fondness for any of the Weasley clan, although he got along well enough with his son's wife, but if Ginny did do anything foolish in the aftermath of what Harry had told her, Draco knew Harry would never forgive himself. "For what it's worth, it sounds to me as if you handled it all as well as anyone could have."
"Thanks." Harry had finished his wine and was running his thumb along the lip of the glass.
"Would you like some more?" offered Draco.
"I'd like to get really pissed, actually, but it's probably not a good idea."
Draco shrugged. "I have plenty of firewhisky in the drinks cabinet. Tomorrow's Sunday; you'd have time to recover."
"What the hell. As long as I don't make a habit of it; and I can't imagine that I'll tell my wife I'm leaving her more than once, so I think I'm safe."
Draco brought the whisky and fresh glasses, and they sat, drinking silently, until Harry let out a sob, his glass falling from limp fingers onto the floor and shattering, liquor spilling everywhere. Draco had drunk considerably less than Harry; a quick Reparo took care of the broken glass and Tergeo siphoned up the whisky. He helped Harry down the hallway to the spare room where he pulled off Harry's shoes and persuaded him to lie down. Before going to sleep himself, Draco found a bottle of hangover potion and left it on the table beside Harry's bed.
It wasn't until nearly noon on Sunday that Harry reemerged. From the kitchen, where he was putting together a frittata for their lunch, Draco heard the bathroom door close, and then the sound of running water.
"Thank you for the hangover potion," said Harry when he came into the kitchen, his hair damp, dressed now in the clean pajamas Draco had left for him rather than in the clothes he had been wearing the night before. He held out his arm with a sheepish grin. "Since I didn't sleep in these, I figured I might wear them until I go home later this afternoon."
"Whatever you like," said Draco. "I didn't have any plans for today myself, so feel free to stay as long as you want to."
"I can't do that," said Harry, "but depending on how Ginny feels, mostly, would it be possible for me to stay for a week or so? Obviously I'd pick up clothes and things, you wouldn't have to provide me with the basic necessities. Last night I didn't really expect to need to come."
"You can stay as long as you like, Harry. I just said so. It's not a very big flat for two people, that's all."
"I think a week would be enough time for me to make some arrangements. I might move into the rooms over the shop; I've been using them for storage, but Mister Ollivander lived there and I certainly could. Assuming that Ginny wants to stay in the house."
"You've been living in the old Black place, haven't you?" asked Draco. "I would think you would want to keep that."
"I would," said Harry, "but since I'm the one who's leaving her, it seems only fair that she should have the first choice. There are a lot of our family memories there now that maybe she wouldn't want to give up." He shrugged. "Maybe she'll decide that the memories of me there are more than she wants. I don't know, but I'll ask."
They ate together companionably, Harry complimenting Draco on the spinach frittata. "I thought you didn't like to cook."
"When there's someone else around to eat with, I don't mind. I'm glad you like it."
Harry seemed apprehensive but resolute about going back to his home to retrieve what he'd need for a few days, and in the event returned to Draco's flat without having seen Ginny at all. Hermione had apparently persuaded her to go to the Granger-Weasley house for a while, leaving a note for Harry so that he wouldn't worry.
Within the week Harry had cleared out the flat above the wand shop and moved himself in. Draco helped, as much as Harry would allow, since most of Harry's other friends were also close to Ginny and weren't ready to act in a way that might seem like taking his side.
"It's official," Harry told Draco the following Tuesday night, when Draco stopped by as always after work.
"What's official? You're completely moved in?"
"No, my separation." His voice held a note of sadness still. "I finally convinced Ginny that there was no chance. I'm not sure that Ron believes it yet, though, and that's nearly as hard."
"I'm sorry." Draco was genuinely sorry for Harry's grief. He was glad that Harry had made the decision without any interference from himself, though, and glad of what that decision had been.
Harry shrugged. "It had to be. Shall we walk, tonight? Let me lock up and I'll be right with you."
"Kensington Park, yes," agreed Draco.
"Then... I'd like to get takeaway and eat together here, if that's all right with you. I want you to be my first guest." Harry looked at him steadily.
Swallowing, Draco agreed.